Brian: I spend about two hours total preparing for each show. In addition, we have a team of three other people who work together to pull all of the necessary elements for each live program. Each individual spends at least an hour each on research, logistics, and planning for each show.
Brian: Our morning show is three hours long (6:00 to 9:00 a.m. ET), so we typically discuss a new topic every 30 minutes. As you can imagine, this takes a significant amount of research and planning to develop enough interesting content for each show.
Our process has multiple layers. Our managing producer, Lauren Cuevas, works with a list of recurring experts to schedule and coordinate approximately three interviews per morning. She also leads our team in organizing and selecting discussion topics for each program.
Our team of four individually searches online for current events, trending topics, editorials, and interesting articles for on-air discussion. We then compile these topics into a spreadsheet and work together to determine which topics are the best for the next day’s program.
Brian: Doing a three-hour show is a marathon of sorts. Our news anchor/engineer, Ron Eastwood, arrives around 4:30 a.m. to write his newscasts and prep audio for the show. I arrive around 5:00 a.m. to finish my show prep and get myself organized for the show. Daria and Lauren arrive around 5:30 a.m. to do the same thing.
We don’t have any formal traditions in place at the moment, but we each have to situate ourselves in the studio for the long haul. I make my coffee, bring in breakfast to eat throughout the show (usually Pop-Tarts . . . I know, not the healthiest), and bring in my piles of paperwork for the show.
How did you get the idea to start Mornings with Brian and to take it live on YouTube?
Brian: I’ve been hosting the morning show on WCRF, Moody Radio Cleveland, for the past eight years. In that time, there have been a few different iterations of the show involving me as the host, along with a co-host.
Mornings with Brian is a new approach to how we conduct a morning show on Moody Radio. I felt strongly about assembling a team of highly talented individuals to create a group atmosphere on the program. I wanted multiple voices with unique personalities and perspectives to increase the depth of what we can offer listeners. I’m so grateful to the Lord for what He did to make this dream a reality!
Our team is made up of two men and two women. We span four generations (one boomer, one Gen Xer, one millennial, and one Gen Z). While I lead the interviews and on-air content, each individual on the team brings their unique personality to the on-air product.
In terms of taking the program to YouTube, it’s something my station manager, Josh Villa, and I have talked about for years. We’ve seen most secular morning shows do this for years with high levels of success. We’ve also seen podcasts do the same thing. Being a non-profit ministry with a small team, we simply didn’t have the bandwidth or experienced personnel to make a livestream happen. However, our recent hire of Daria Swisher has put us in a position to finally stream the show. She’s got a ton of talent and experience and is spearheading and directing the livestream.
Brian: My recurring nightmare is that I’d start the show and have nothing to say. But gratefully, I’m never at a loss for words. Just ask my family
Brian: On one occasion, a listener got saved on-air as we had a conversation. It was incredible.
Other times, I have robust and sometimes tense debates with listeners about various controversial issues. While many people would be scared to have debates like that during a live program, I’ve learned to trust that the Lord will always give me the words I need to guide the discussion in a Christ-centered way.
Brian: Mornings with Brian is a group of four imperfect people unafraid to navigate the challenges of living out their Christian faith in our modern world. We reject hyper-spirituality. We love to laugh. Who wouldn’t want to be part of something like that?
Brian: We are guided by Romans 12:2, which reads in part, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (NLT).
We are all about encouraging listeners to continually transform their lives into what Christ calls us to be. We believe that our faith is most lived out in everyday conversations and interactions, so we do our best to have honest and transparent discussions about viral news stories and current events. We also share personal stories and struggles. We take calls and conduct interviews. And we don’t shy away from difficult topics—we face them head-on.
Brian: At the moment, our focus is on producing a compelling daily program and launching on YouTube. After that, we’ll see where the Lord leads us.
Brian Dahlen became a Cleveland morning show host after working at Moody Radio in Chicago as a radio host, producer, and co-host of a weekly podcast. Brian caught the radio bug while teaching history at a public high school near Minneapolis, where he was cohost and producer of a weekly radio program. After teaching six years and graduating with a master’s degree in education, Brian lives with his wife and five children in Broadview Heights, Ohio.
Mornings with Brian brings you Christ-centered discussions packed with biblical insight and practical advice. Listen as they share thought provoking expert interviews, cultural commentary, and candid conversations with callers.